Navy Arrests 112 Illegal Vessels …In Three Years

Pic.25. From left: Chief of Naval Staff, South Africa, Vice Admiral Mosiwa Hlongwane; Chief of Naval Staff, Nigeria, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe-Ibas; and commander of the Naval Base, Ojoo, Haruna Zego, during a courtesy visit of the Chief of the South African Naval Staff to Lagos on Monday (25/9/17). 05160/25/9/17/Oladapo Kayode/MO/BJO/NAN

The Nigerian Navy said it arrested about 112 vessels for various acts of illegality in the nation’s waterways between 2016 and 2018.

Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, who made the disclosure in Lagos at the ongoing Senior Leadership Symposium said plans had been concluded with the Federal Department of Fisheries for the acquisition of dedicated vessels to contain the menace illegal operators.

The Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, who was represented by the Naval Chief of Policy and Plans, Rear Admiral Beegroy Ibe-Enwo, noted the worsening security situation in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG), and declared that collaboration between the navy, maritime stakeholders in the country and regional forces were addressing the issues.

Disclosing that “30 vessels were arrested last year, representing an improvement on the 37 and 45 arrests recorded in 2016 and 2017, respectively”, he  said the Nigerian Navy had as of December 2018, handed over 247 cases to prosecuting agencies such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), of which 51 had been successfully prosecuted.

According to him, “the scourge of various forms of illegalities, such as sea robbery, piracy, crude oil theft, poaching, human and illicit trafficking of weapons and drugs among others constitute serious challenges to the development of all countries in our region.”

“What is even more disturbing is that many of the activities associated with the evolving threat scenario are directed at the economic lifeline of both littoral and land-locked member states.”, he added.

“As maritime insecurity progressively assumes transnational character, trans-border cooperation increasingly becomes the sine qua non in the mitigation of illicit maritime activities.

“The NN also engages regularly with stakeholders and has taken measures to enhance law enforcement within the maritime domain. One positive outcome of such consultation is the launch of the Harmonised Standard Operating Procedures (HSOP) on Arrest, Detention and Prosecution of Vessels and Persons (HSOP AD&P) in Nigeria’s Maritime Environment in January 2017.

“Further to the launch, the NN constantly engages with the Office of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation (HAGF) on modalities for implementation while stakeholders meetings with private maritime logistic support companies and the oil and gas sub-sector are convened periodically.

“These engagements foster a shared vision on the accomplishment of maritime security tasks leading to the successful prosecution of 51 maritime crime related cases or about 20 per cent of the 247 cases which the NN handed over to prosecuting agencies such as EFCC and NSCDC as at December 2018.

“The NN’s seamless collaboration with related agencies has helped to create effective deterrence to criminals through the arrest and prosecution of various criminals.

“Suffice to state that the NN arrested a total of 30 vessels in 2018 for involvement in various forms of illegality in the nation’s maritime domain. This indicates on the face value a downward trend when compared with 37 and 45 arrests recorded in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

“These arrests have served as deterrence and helped to support a more buoyant national economy. For instance, NNPC data indicate that crude oil losses from pipelines reduced from N51.28 billion in 2015 to N4.17 billion in 2017.”

He acknowledged the contributions of allied nations, including the United States (US), United Kingdom (UK) and France for their support, which have been tailored towards encouraging and bolstering domestic and regional collaboration in practical terms and on sustainable basis.

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